BREVARD COUNTY — Eating out for Thanksgiving may be a radical idea for some of you. The thought of not revealing a delectable golden “goose” on your dinner table - worthy of a magazine cover, mind you - borders on incredulous. You’re certainly not alone in this line of thinking. However, Hallmark Movie Moments aside, if you dig beneath the surface, you might come to find the idea thoroughly enjoyable. Moreover, the timing is perfect.

The nation’s supply chain is disrupted, labor markets are struggling, and small businesses across industry are still recovering from 2020. Costs are up, supplies are down, and thinking outside the box is part of the new norm.

With this in mind, now is the perfect time to consider eating out for Thanksgiving, a move that can be less stressful at home and beneficial for all involved.

Pondering the possibility, but not yet convinced? Below are a handful of motivators that just may sway your decision.

For one thing, restaurants are open during Thanksgiving. Some of our neighbors don’t have family close by or are a long way from home. Some - heaven forbid - don’t like to cook. Restaurants cater to them and all during the holiday season.

These establishments provide servers and staff who aren’t home with their families. Eating out offers you the perfect opportunity to share with them and thank them for their service to the community. Patronizing a restaurant also bolsters their business. Thus, boosting the economy, which will, in turn, boomerang its positive effects back to you: a karmic quid pro quo.

Addressing the obvious, if you eat out, you don’t have to cook. Let’s face it, even if you’re a seasoned pro in the kitchen, or simply love to cook for your family, the Thanksgiving meal can be a stressful undertaking. Unfortunately, stress has been a constant companion for many of us post-pandemic. Instead, this year, take your power back in a way you can actually control by making reservations instead of menus.

Additionally, if you don’t have to cook, you don’t have to clean up the mess. Enough said! But in the same vein, Thanksgiving frequently comes with weeks of prep work. Eliminating this prep time allows more quality time with friends and family. How marvelous, since family time is what the holiday is all about.

Purging the prep comes with a secondary benefit: you’re well-rested. Let’s see: less stress, time with the family, and you’re relaxed enough to enjoy it all. Sounds like the perfect holiday, doesn’t it? What could be better? How about dessert!

Granted, perhaps dessert isn’t the most charitable reason to eat out for Thanksgiving, but it's equally valid. Main entrees are time-consuming, often leaving little time for the luscious lemon lavender scones your inner baker never gets a chance to try. Eating out provides ample time to indulge in these confectionary concoctions back at home.

Another reason to consider eating out this year is the menu itself. Devising a festive bill of fare that’ll please everyone can prove daunting. Eating out, everyone can order what they like and leave happy.

Not prepping for Thanksgiving also opens up lots of time to kick Christmas into gear. Perhaps this is the year you get a jump on your holiday shopping. Or maybe you want to curl up with a fun holiday-themed book or movie(s). Either way, it sure feels good to have options never before at your disposal.

The holidays are also special occasions we like to dress up for. However, when we host, we often never remove the apron and wear last year’s shirt because it’s already stained. It may be a little vain but eating out means we can dress up and look nice for a change which may lead to holiday hand-holding. That’s a Hallmark Moment that never gets old.

Eating out also presents an opportunity to leave the kitchen behind and actively engage with your loved ones. Consider extending this engagement within the community as this is a great occasion to meet new people who also choose to eat out. You might use this time to try a new restaurant or take a leisurely stroll through Main Street after your meal.

If you’re interest is piqued, know that many local restaurants are open with a full menu, condensed seasonal menu, holiday buffet, or more often than not, a mixture of all three.

The fact is, eating out for Thanksgiving probably isn’t going to be your go-to tradition year after year. You’ll always continue to enjoy festive meals at home. Incorporating this option into your family holiday repertoire, however, is not only new and exciting, but can be a neighborly and thoughtful act for the community at large.

What’s more, eating out for Thanksgiving will reinvigorate your efforts at a home-cooked meal for the next holiday, which according to the calendar, is just weeks away.

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